Coastal park emerges as major destination!

by Dale Cox

Hurricane damage from recent years is a thing of the past at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama!

The Alabama Tourism Department has named the coastal park Alabama’s Attraction of the Year for 2019. A massive revitalization – including the opening of The Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton Hotel – has turned the park into one of the finest public recreation and eco-tourism spots in the country.

The Lodge at Gulf State Park, a Hilton Hotel, offers 300 beachfront rooms!
Photo courtesy of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The Lodge at Gulf State Park officially opened for guests, business meetings and conferences in November 2018 and is already booking events as far out as 2024. The beachfront hotel features 350 rooms, two restaurants, a pool and access to two miles of unspoiled white sand beach.

 Gulf State Park is also the home of the new Woodside Restaurant, a farm to table establishment that can be reached by either road or bike/hiking path. It features an impressive menu and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  

The new Woodside Restaurant features a fresh farm to table menu.

Other recent additions include a new interpretive center, enhanced boardwalks and more. 

Gulf State Park is a place where water, sand and sun combine to create more than 6,000 acres of pristine coastal ecosystems. Set next to the booming coastal communities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, the park preserves an important part of the Gulf Coast.

Gulf State Park features two miles of unspoiled Gulf Coast beach, plus coastal lakes and dunes, marshes, hammocks and more!

The park also features 28 miles of trails for biking and hiking, a dog park, saltwater fishing pier, nature center, 20 cabins, 11 lakefront cottages, 500 campsites, restored sand dunes, rainwater recycling systems and ecofriendly lighting in key natural areas. The amenities adjoin and provide access to impressive natural areas that include coastal lakes, wooded hammocks, marshes, and more.

A magnificent coastal lake provides the setting for the park’s cottages and many of its cabins.

Coming soon is a Learning Campus that will host learning activities, conferences, and retreats that introduce groups of visitors to the unique ecology of the park. 

For those interested in history and archaeology, the park is one of two coastal stops on the new Alabama Indigenous Mound Trail. 

Prehistoric shell mounds at Gulf State Park are featured on the
new Alabama Indigenous Mounds Trail.

Gulf State Park preserves both sand and shell mounds that date from the Middle Woodland (circa A.D. 150) and Mississippian (A.D. 1000-1500) time periods. Please click here to learn more.

To learn more about Gulf State Park, visit For lodge information and reservations, please visit

The park is at 20115 AL-135 in Gulf Shores, Alabama. It is open daily. See the map at the bottom of this page for directions.